Renowned cricketer Sunil Gavaskar, a seasoned leader who steered a team to a global victory back in 1985 during the World Championship of Cricket in Australia, is hopeful for India’s ongoing success in the cricket arena.
When asked to articulate the key to successful captaincy, Gavaskar pointed out that India’s triumphant sides shared a common thread – the presence of all-rounders.
Notably, only two other captains, Kapil Dev in the 1983 World Cup and Mahendra Singh Dhoni in the 2011 World Cup and the 2013 Champions Trophy, have guided India to victory in multi-team 50-overs tournaments. Since then, the road to success in ICC tournaments has been challenging. Skippers Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma’s attempts to elevate their skillful squads to the level of world champions have unfortunately fallen short.
The upcoming October-November period presents India with a golden opportunity to break this dry spell as the nation hosts the ODI World Cup. All eyes are set on skipper Rohit Sharma as he leads the team’s charge.
Gavaskar, when asked about the recipe for successful captaincy, stressed the significance of all-rounders in India’s three previous winning teams. “More than anything else, the luck of the day is vital. If you analyze the teams from 1983, 1985, and 2011, they all boasted exceptional all-rounders. Batsmen who could contribute 7-8-9 overs of bowling and bowlers capable of wielding the bat lower down the order were pivotal. This was the major strength of those squads. Even in MSD’s era, the likes of Suresh Raina, Yuvraj Singh, Sachin Tendulkar, and Virender Sehwag could all lend their bowling talents. This dynamic greatly favored their performance. Therefore, a team enriched with all-rounders gains a distinct advantage.”
“Take the example of England, who clinched last year’s T20 World Cup. Observe the abundance of all-round talents they possessed. Hence, all-rounders are the crux,” Gavaskar commented during a promotional event. He was recently unveiled as the principal advisor of Midwicket Stories, a platform for cricketing legends to captivate audiences by sharing their enthralling experiences both on and off the field.
For Rohit Sharma, a stalwart in the ODI format, the next three months will be definitive in shaping his captaincy legacy. His initial challenge lies in guiding India to triumph in the Asia Cup, where formidable opponents like co-hosts Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh await. Gavaskar evaluated Rohit Sharma’s leadership by stating, “Ultimately, your stature is measured by the trophies you secure, the victories you amass. Emerging triumphant in these two tournaments will etch his name among India’s most illustrious skippers.”
The upcoming Asia Cup holds extra significance for India, given that three key players are returning from substantial injury lay-offs. Pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah, designated No.4 batsman Shreyas Iyer, and keeper-batter KL Rahul are making their comebacks, with Bumrah already resuming his duties during the Ireland T20 series. The Asia Cup marks the awaited return for Iyer and Rahul.
With just 38 days remaining until the World Cup, some variables such as injuries are beyond the team’s control. Nevertheless, the former India captain expressed contentment with the comprehensive preparation strategy leading into these crucial events. “The overall preparation matches up to the highest standards. Players have enjoyed ample rest, rigorous practice, and are now reenergized and eager to take on the challenge,” emphasized Gavaskar, underscoring the role of fortune.
“Our talent pool is immense. However, in knockout stages, a touch of luck on the given day is indispensable. Our history in knockout matches, where we’ve encountered defeats, often had an element of misfortune,” Gavaskar reflected.
Recalling the 2019 World Cup, he added, “During that tournament, our semifinal against New Zealand extended into the following day. Had it concluded within the stipulated day, outcomes might have differed due to altered seaming conditions on the subsequent day. A bit of luck on the day is a prerequisite. With several highly competitive teams in the mix, luck becomes a decisive factor.”